Blended Ambidexterity: The Copresence of Modes of Ambidexterity in William Demant Holding

Nicolai J. Foss*, Matilde F. Kirkegaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Research identifies different modes of ambidexterity (sequential, contextual and structural ambidexterity) that, however, are implicitly seen as mutually exclusive. Accordingly, the copresence of structural and contextual ambidexterity modes—here called “blended ambidexterity”—has been given little attention, although it may be characteristic of (some) companies and may be a deliberate choice. To establish that blended ambidexterity is an empirically meaningful phenomenon and to gain insight into its causes, organizational context and consequences, we undertook a detailed study of two business units in William Demant Holding, a leading company in the medical devices industry. Our findings suggest that blended ambidexterity 1) is a meaningful empirical phenomenon; which 2) can manifest in different ways (i.e., characteristic elements of contextual and structural ambidexterity may be configured in different ways); 3) is supported by formal and informal organization; 4) is associated with different innovation outcomes, depending on how it is configured; 5) may have distinct advantages in terms of overcoming limitations of each mode; but 6) also gives rise to distinct management challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102049
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number6
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 22 October 2020.


  • Ambidexterity
  • Blended ambidexterity
  • Exploitation
  • Exploration
  • Innovation

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